I have long believed that exiting the EU was unnecessary to control benefit tourism, immigration and healthcare. The far right has largely succeeded in convincing the less educated in political affairs that the only solution was to exit the EU. This was a lie and still is.
The Conservatives initially launched their campaign on giving the British people a referendum on Europe with a key focus on austerity. UKIP claimed freedom of movement was hurting public services and British jobs. Of course both these parties had good points but let’s face it, one party was racist and the other was simply fighting for power they had been deprived for a decade, neither party was willing to implement any real solution. Sadly to say the coalition government was right to push for a re-negotiation of our position in Europe, let’s face reality, Cameron would have succeeded. If you have any doubts then you should review the European Directive governing free movement. Extract below:
To be fully covered by the European right of free movement, the EEA citizen needs to exercise one of the four treaty rights:
- working as an employee (this includes looking for work for a reasonable amount of time),
- working as a self-employed person,
- being self-sufficient or retired.
These rights are named after the Treaty of Rome, which defines the freedom of movement for workers. They have been extended over time, and are mainly of historical significance by now, since being self-sufficient has been added to the list. As long as a citizen has sufficient money or income not to rely on public funds and holds comprehensive health insurance, he/she exercises one or more treaty rights. If no treaty right is exercised, the right of free movement is limited to three months. [ref. wikipedia]
We can clearly see from the above directive we could have easily negotiated a revision of any laws allowing benefit claimants from EU states to unreasonably claim welfare, other issues surrounding jobs required a reform of labor laws, so employers were not allowed to discriminate against local workers on the basis EU workers are paid less and work more or simply give incentives to companies who hire local British workers or even put in affirmative action in the form of quotas. In my opinion the issue was purely domestic. Do you still think we needed to Brexit?
In any case we have and now we realize the effect on trade and quite possibly we would still remain in the EU in all but name. So what are our options to table to the EU?
We exit the Union without a trade deal.
Effect: We will most likely end up having to do bilateral trade deals with countries like India, China and the USA which will take years. What does this mean? Well, the USA is known for growth hormone meat which at the moment is banned by EU law, read this article. China imports to the UK more than they export from the UK, this means no real change, India imports labor, has a population of 1 billion people, they have also taken lower level jobs that have completely migrated to the Indian mainland. A trade deal with India would definitely involve more movement of skilled and unskilled labor and this will be worse than the EU movement.
We become an EFTA (European Free Trade Association) member like Norway, Switzerland and Iceland.
Effect: This would require, the maintaining of the freedom of movement, as it will be impractical to have tight border controls with European partners. This will be a very soft Brexit but this will be a much safer option but certainly would render the referendum pointless.
We threaten Europe with going Offshore.
Effect: This would certainly be the worst outcome, first off, this will create a lot of animosity within the Isles and would likely open old wounds. It will also create massive inequality as price inflation takes hold, the government would have to reduce taxes on the working class to compensate for the elite crowd that will pour in, we have already seen similar effects in Kensington and Chelsea. This will affect the capital account hugely with 60% of £716.5 billion revenue from taxes coming from income tax and national insurance contributions. More data on tax receipts here.
It is time we think long and hard about our future. The best option is to push for EFTA membership with an exit of EEA. This will take us out of the European Court Of Justice but keep us in the EFTA court, this would give us some flexibility in terms of dodging the directives that seem to imply that we have no control of our laws. We should not need to make those expensive contributions as well, this will be the best possible outcome in light of the circumstances.